tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 30, 2015 12:00am-2:01am EDT
that are underinsured. second, our selection of navigators and walk-in centers for this fall is specifically targeted towards underinsured communities. because commute hasmassachusett mandated insurance mandate, they would not share with us. they are able on our behalf to notify uninsured residents of their opportunity to become insured through the state-based marketplace.
insurance markets. later, a speak by the new u.k. labor party leader jeremy corbin. next, the senate foreign relations committee looks at u.s. policy on the syrian refugee crisis. witnesses include the presidents of organizations involved in humanitarian aid, including the u.s. institute of peace and the international rescue committee headed by former british foreign secretary david miliband. this is an hour and 50 minutes.
i want to thank our witnesses for being here. nancy, as i understand it, is tied up in traffic and will be coming in a few moments, so we're going to go ahead and get started. we have a vote later. i want to thank the members for being here. today's hearing is the second in a series of hearings examining the role of the united states in the middle east. this hearing will focus on the immense humanitarian crisis emanating from the region. the images of hundreds of
thousands of men, women, and children fleeing for safety should challenge every moral fiber within us. these are people just like us that want only to be able to raise their families in dignity and cherish the same values and things that we all care about, and yet we watch them on television in these desperate circumstances. we all know that the scale of this tragedy, but it is worth, again, outlining the numbers. in syria, a country with population of 22 million in 2011, more than 4.1 million have fled the country and more than 7.6 million are displaced inside the country, so half of syria's population is not home, not living in their hometowns, but in some other place. some estimates put the number of deaths in syria over 300,000.
the assad regime responsible for over 100,000 civilian deaths. let me say that one more time. the assad regime responsible for more than 100,000 civilian deaths. 3.2 million displaced. solutions must address while people are fleeing. i like forward to hearing the views of our witnesses today, but i believe after four years of war there is a perception that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. as assad continues to barrel bomb his own people, the russians and iranians continue to ensure that he has the means to do it. more than one year after establishing a global coalition to counter isis, we learned that the main beneficiary iraq has allowed iran, russia, and syria to establish their own coalition
within a cell in baghdad. it appears that our administration is seriously debating some type of an accommodation with the russians in order to fight isis. it's difficult to understand how working alongside the backers of assad could in any way stem the flow of refugees that are fleeing the barrel bombs. it is important to remember that the war in syria began with assad and he's still doing the same things today on a daily basis that he was doing at the time. i do want to digress and say that i know david miliband took a very opposing view to most of the labor party when he at one time served in the parliament and felt that interaction inside syria should be taking place by great britain. many of us felt the same way.
and as crass as i may sound, i think all of us, all of us, today as we watch what is on television and see these refugees in the circumstances they're in, all of us are reaping what we've sowed. we didn't get involved at a time when we could have made a difference. i hope our witnesses can help us understand the scale and effect the humanitarian crisis the united states and others should be taking to mitigate it, but i would like to again stress we cannot simply rely on humanitarianism alone in this crisis and that is incumbent upon us to work towards realistic policies that would bring back the hope of a normal life to those in need. thank you again for appearing before our committee, and i look forward to your testimony. with that, i'd like to turn to our distinguished ranking member. >> well, mr. chairman, first let me thank you for convening this hearing. you and i talked awhile back as to what we can do.
this committee works in a bipartisan way in order to advance our foreign policy objectives, and i congratulate the chairman for his leadership in that regard. we talked what we can do in regards to the refugee crisis globally in recognizing that syria is an immediate concern. it's a humanitarian crisis as well as a problem of conflict that needs a solution. it's complicated, of course, by isis presence in syria, so i want to thank you for the manner in which we were able to convene this hearing to see how the united states senate, the congress, can advance the goals of the united states in dealing with this international crisis and how we can take a look at our traditional tools and perhaps refine them. look at new ways we can energize the united states' involvement
and the international community to deal with the humanitarian crisis, and i would agree with you. we also need to deal with the political underpinnings of why people have to flee their homes. for the first time since world war ii, almost 60 million people have been forced from their homes and displaced in their own countries and are forced to flee abroad. we're seeing more conflicts that do not end and result in expone exponential increases in need. the situation is increasingly desperate for both the refugees and host countries like jordan, lebanon, turkey, and northern iraq because syrians are finding increasingly difficult to find safety. they are forced to move further afield. that's why so many are risking their lives to cross the mediterrn